Emblica officinalis – Fructus (Euphorbiaceae)
Common name: Indian gooseberry (E), Amla (H)
Sanskrit: Amalaki, Dhatri
‘Amla’ can be literally translated to mean ‘sour’, indicating its very sharp and sour taste profile. Amalaki also means Dhatri which translates as ‘mother’ or ‘nurse’, indicating that Amalaki is a primary healing and nourishing herb for the body and soul.
Amalaki is a fruit that can be likened to a gooseberry in looks and size. It grows from small to medium sized trees that can reach up to 18metres in height and grow throughout India. It is also native to India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Southern China and Malaysia. Interestingly, it is the Varanasi variety that is considered to be the best. The leaves resemble the size and shape of those common to most pine species and the trunks are often crooked in shape. Its flowers are a greenish-yellow in colour and the amalaki fruits are almost completely spherical in shape and a pale green colour. The fruits will ripen during the autumn season, which is when they would be picked for harvesting.
How it Works
One of the primary constituents found in this fruit is naturally occurring ascorbic acid, more commonly known as Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important co-factor in numerous enzymatic processes in the body including blood vessel formation, wound healing mechanisms, iron absorption and energy transfer. It is also a crucial component in protecting cellular membranes and, of course, the immune system. It is packed with protective bioflavonoids such as gallic acid, ellagic acid and rutin. The combination of these compounds makes amalaki a very effective anti-inflammatory that also has the ability to stabilise connective tissue, blood vessels, bones, hair and the eyes.
Into the Heart of Amalaki…
- Amalaki is particularly effective for reducing inflammation in the digestive tract, assisting the bowels and also strengthening the heart. Amalaki berries are incredibly powerful antioxidants with high levels of naturally occurring Vitamin C which make this herb very protective for the heart and blood vessels but also the immune system.
- The stabilising and protective nature of this particular herb indicates its use to help prevent and treat any damage associated with connective tissue disorders and also autoimmune based conditions.
- Amalaki is one of the major ingredients in two of the most famous Ayurvedic preparations; Triphala and Chywanaprash. Chywanaprash is a traditional Ayurvedic elixir tonic paste that is a superb rejuvenative for the immune system, in particular the lungs, all three Ayurvedic doshas and the reproductive system.
- Triphala is a traditional tonic for the whole digestive system, nourishing and strengthening it from the core.
Digestion: Amalaki is specifically indicated for digestive sensitivities, especially where there are signs of excess inflammation and bleeding within the digestive tract and intestines specifically. In small dosages, amalaki will constipate, where a larger dose will act as a laxative. In the liver, amalaki is a very effective liver cleanser, partly due to its sour components literally ‘squeezing’ the liver.
Heart & Circulation: Amalaki has an affinity for the blood and helps to nourish and protect the heart. It protects the heart and blood vessels by reducing elevated cholesterol and healing arterial damage. The high concentration of anti-oxdiants also make amalaki an excellent tonic for general debility and weakness in the heart and blood vessels.
Metabolic disorders: Amalaki is renowned in Ayurveda as a rejuvenative tonic, or ‘rasayana’ and an adaptogen which has the ability to restore vigour and vitality. Its name in Sanskrit means ‘the sustainer’, and it is traditionally used to provide nourishment to all of the body’s tissues.
Immunity: The naturally high Vitamin C content of this fruit has made it a primary herb for supporting the functioning of the immune system, through its ability to stimulate wound healing and repair mechanisms.